CRDC’s Work in Afghanistan Featured

by mgopin on October 30, 2014 · 0 comments

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Afghan FP

CRDC’s work in Afghanistan is highlighted in this article from Foreign Policy.

In line with this approach, over the last few years, the World Organization for Resource Development and Education — a nonprofit, educational organization with which we are both affiliated — co-hosted a series of conferences with the U.S.-based George Mason and Boston Universities on peacebuilding from an Islamic perspective. The conference brought together 200 religious leaders from across Afghanistan to meet with internationally-renowned Muslim scholars. By utilizing a faith-based approach, it was possible to generate discussions on hot-button issues ranging from jihad to women’s rights.

Please check out the whole article from here.

Foreign Policy, Six Things About Afghanistan That May Surprise You.

 

(Photo: Mandel Ngan/AFP/Getty Images)

 

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Self-Trust and Self-Distrust

by mgopin on October 23, 2014 · 0 comments

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tree

Trust your feelings = moral intuitionism,
Distrust your feelings = cognitive therapy and utilitarianism,
When to trust or distrust = the wisdom of painful experience.

 

(Photo: Vikram Soni)

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excellent film watch it! please read this piece that I wrote in its spirit.

 

Recently, I did not post or write for several days due to trips and holidays. It gave me a chance to absorb and receive writing rather than to give. I came to a conclusion that surprised myself. Those of us globally who are trying to change the world for the better with our words (unlike classical journalism which is about reporting harsh realities) must commit to writing less and less on what cannot be changed, on what is essentially outrageous and dispiriting, UNLESS, we include a practical step that anyone reading can readily take. For example, no more stories on voter registration prevention, unless there is a link to what I, me, myself, can do in some way–not by giving money only–to go and help someone get registered. No more about Muslim kids being kidnapped for global war, unless there is a link to some organization or teacher or preacher who is reaching out to those same kids successfully.

I realize this is a tall order, that it is hard to find such links to practical work, and I am not talking about no more posts at all that are despairing without a practical outlet. We, like the journalists, above all must expose the bitter truths of the world. But scientific evidence is overwhelming that we may be shooting ourselves in the foot by depressing our readers and driving them to inaction, when we offer no way to change impending disasters or moral outrages. Therefore, every post on climate degradation should come with one practical step to reverse it. These steps can be very simple, not earth shattering, but something important to do. I want to shift the nature of our global intervention as a community of social change through writing and reporting, shift it toward every single human being who reads being empowered with at least one way to take his feelings and turn it into practical and positive ways to change the earth for the better.

We writers must not be an international echo chamber of despair, but rather a global symphony of social action.

 

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Honor is a killer. Be dishonored. Be dishonored, to save any life. Let those who need honor, delight only in this: the honor of every fellow human being.

 Kurdish Teenager’s “Honor Killing” Fades to Memory as Iraq Violence Swells, Huffington Post

“Dunya was very timid. She wasn’t very social, and she didn’t care about fashion,” said her mother Sahom Hassan when asked to describe her daughter, found dead on May 24. “On the day she was killed, she called me and said, ‘This is the last time you will hear my voice.’”

In Iraqi Kurdistan, suicide by self-immolation has replaced honor killing in many cases. Most often the decision is made by a woman herself either to escape a life of misery or shame, or due to pressure from her family members. The majority of these are reported as accidents. Dunya’s sister-in-law died three years ago in one such incident.

 

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Fossil_Fuel-e1407859699259

Here is the excerpt of my new article published on Huffington Post.
Please check out the whole writing from here as well, and your comment is always welcome.

Managing the Madness in the Middle East

…in the long term, a world based on fossil fuels is completely unsustainable, and states and individuals must each take concrete steps to rapidly move away from their use. It is not the first time in history that a resource craved by everyone distorted all rational investment in and valuation of citizens. The less valuable that oil becomes, the more valuable will be the minds and hearts of every single woman, man and child in the region, every minority, and thus there will be clear incentives to invest in every citizen rather than sacrificing them to a god of war that is always insatiable. The god of war may have a religious body covering up a materialistic heart. It does not matter. It is a false god that consumes the population, and the goal is a vision of the future for the whole region that makes everyone, from states to women and minorities, into assets of a shared future.

 

(Photo: Reuters/Henry Romero)

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Below is an excerpt from my book, Between Eden and Armageddon: The Future of World Religions, Violence, and Peacemaking, pp. 177-179 . The reason I am reproducing this now is given the Jewish season of New Year, repentance,  and the never ending assault this summer on the decency of the Abrahamic religions, their constant use and abuse by states and extremists alike, it strikes me as the right time to remember the thousands of years and thousands of texts that are humanitarian and decent in just one tradition, let alone all the great sacred traditions of humanity. We must not forget, we must not let states and their extremists bury the wisdom of any great tradition.

Conflict Prevention Values In Judaism

A. Self

benevolent care of the self (al tehi rasha bifne, ahavah kamokha, im ayn ani li)[1]

self-scrutiny and change (heshbon ha-nefesh, teshuva)[2]

acquiring a good name (shem tov)[3]

intellectual study for the purposes of ethical practice (lomed al menat la’asoth)[4]

internalizing ethics rooted in wisdom (hokhmah, middoth talmid hakham)[5]

internalizing wisdom as a way of creating compassion and peace (hokhmah)[6]

calculation and prioritization of competing laws and values, constructive conflict

(talmud torah, 13 middot she’ha torah nidreshet,halakha, mahloket le’shem shamayim)[7]

becoming like God in the acts of benevolence and peacemaking (ve’holakhta

be’derakhav, oseh shalom b’meromav)[8]

[click to continue…]

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Nationalism and Groupthink

by mgopin on October 17, 2014 · 1 comment

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The root of this maddening reversal of the military is irrational thinking of the body politic, and the human illness of groupthink, which is in essence the scourge of nationalism and nationalist thinking. otherwise intelligent, thoughtful even nice people, becoming monstrous because the political establishment, having gotten into power through racial or national flag waving, told them that the violent path was the only one–until the day, that is, that they shrugged their shoulders, and said it was NOT the only path. Like America and the Communist domino effect in Vietnam. The outdated philosophy here, or brain fart, is nationalism. Rational self-interest is fine, but the only rational future is in the liberal, socially contracted state, without the flag-waving brain distortions.

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International Relations and Human Relations

by mgopin on October 17, 2014 · 0 comments

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If you are in a hole with a rational actor, even if he is your adversary, help each other climb out, for the climb itself will lead to a better destination. If you are in a hole with an irrational actor, even if he is an ally, climb out yourself and let him keep digging. Why should two be buried instead of one?

 

climb

 

(Photo: The TechBistro)

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Situation in Kobani

by mgopin on October 16, 2014 · 0 comments

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There are a great many Muslims who are about to be slaughtered. They are not Gazan, they are not dying at the hands of Christians or Jews. They happen to be Kurds and they are about to die at the hands of Muslims funded from the Gulf. I just need to share my outrage at how little traffic I see on this. And it dovetails the absence of traffic about Syrians dying in general. It seems that it only turns into global outrage when Western Christians or Jews are doing the killing. And that is unacceptable. The Abrahamic religions are not ready for power, nor will they ever be. The only way that any minority, anyone weaker, ever gets defended in history is by benevolent autocrats with a reason, or by pluralist democracies. Religion is great for the heart, let’s keep it away from guns and power forever, and hold everyone’s feet to the fire instead with one of the most spiritual of all documents of human history, the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

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Jonah to the Prophets

by mgopin on October 10, 2014 · 1 comment

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Jonah-Waiting-for-the-Destruction

Run away
In order to run toward,
Rebel
In order to serve,
Complain selfishly
In order to sacrifice generously,
Wish to die
In order to live,
Sacrifice yourself
To prevent sacrifices,
Be a fool
in order to teach wisdom,
Stop wrapping yourself in God
So that people may listen,
The lesson of your foolishness
Stops habits in their tracks,
Much more than
fundamentalist prattle.

 

(Photo: Reading the Bible)

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